Popular Types of Flooring
There's a flooring material for every design preference and price point. In this section, we'll break down the most common types.
The appeal of hardwood floors stands the test of time. With shades including cherry, oak, maple, walnut, and more, it can fit any design without sacrificing durability. Despite its allure, hardwood comes with a higher price tag. You also need to follow a consistent refinishing schedule every few years, filling in the gaps with specialty cleaners. The more time you invest in maintenance, the longer your floors will last.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood gives you the charm of hardwood without the demand for regular maintenance. They use a plywood substrate with a layer of real hardwood on top – ultimately cutting your costs. While it's more resistant to warping versus true hardwood, it sounds more hollow to walk on and can't be refinished more than once.
Laminate is another more affordable flooring option, consisting of a particleboard base, wood or tile finish, and protective plastic coating. It's easy to clean, scratch-resistant, and available in countless different styles and colors. However, it's more susceptible to water damage and chipping.
Vinyl flooring has excellent water and fading resistance and requires minimal upkeep. Popular options include luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP), with both having equal durability and long-lasting nature depending on the model you buy. Their price point sits comfortably between wood and laminate.
Tile flooring is excellent for bathrooms, kitchens, and other moisture-prone areas. It offers years of life with minimal maintenance needs, and is available in many materials, patterns, and colors. However, it requires intensive prep work before installation and can be cool and slippery to walk on. Pricing depends on the material you pick, with porcelain being more expensive than ceramic.
Stone floors are among the most waterproof available. You can choose from a variety of bold design options, including travertine, sandstone, marble, and granite. However, like hardwood, it can be expensive and difficult to clean.
Linoleum is made from linseed oil and cork and can endure for many years if maintained properly. It’s a cost-effective option with many design possibilities. However, the softer material is easier to dent or scratch, and it's known to fade with sunlight exposure. It’s also not suitable for moisture-prone spaces like kitchens and bathrooms.
Carpet is the most affordable flooring option. It can make a space feel more homey and is great for absorbing sound. You don’t have to be concerned with scratches or dents, and the cushioning makes it a safer choice for kids. However, the fibrous material easily holds onto odors, stains, and moisture, which isn't ideal for pet owners or people with allergies.
How to Choose a Baltimore Flooring Company
Choosing the right installer significantly affects your new floor's quality. We recommend screening different companies using the following criteria.
Reputation and Reviews
The most crucial thing to research about any flooring company is its reputation. Check review sites like Trustpilot, Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see what previous clients have to say. Even the best flooring installers will have both positive and negative reviews. Look for how an installer deals with complaints and interacts with others. If it strives for a satisfactory resolution and acts in good faith, that's a good sign. However, if it's combative or has a high negative-to-positive review ratio, it's best to avoid working with it.
Portfolio and References
A trusted flooring company will be eager to show you portfolios of its previous work. Closely inspect each listed project and ask questions as you have them. It's also customary to ask for references from past customers. Once you have their contact information, contact them to ask about their experiences.
Specialization and Services
No two companies have the same experience or product offerings. You should find one that specializes in the material or type of floor you're interested in. Equally important is a company's service offerings. At the very least, it should offer cleanup and haul-away for your old flooring materials. However, if you're feeling lost in all the color, material, and style choices, you can also look for contractors with design teams.
Cost is crucial to consider, but it should be less important than quality in your decision-making process. We recommend getting at least three different quotes for your flooring job to compare pricing and workmanship. Many companies offer on-site and online estimates to ease the process.
Warranties and Guarantees
Flooring services typically come with two warranties. The first one, issued by the manufacturer, covers the product itself. The other backs the installation company's workmanship. While a few manufacturers and contractors have lifetime warranties, most are still tied to a specific time period (often ten years.) If you'd like additional coverage, you might be able to pay extra for an extended warranty.
Time management is key to a successful flooring job. Before you agree to work with a company, request an estimated timeline and inquire about what issues could impact the project. If a company assures you it'll finish the job by a certain deadline, get that guarantee in writing and convey your expectations clearly as the work progresses.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Flooring in Baltimore
What are the best flooring installation prices?
See our guides to how much each flooring type typically costs:
What's the most popular flooring material in Baltimore?
What are the licensing laws for Baltimore flooring companies?
Could I save money by buying flooring online?
If I'm replacing a kitchen floor, what material should I buy?
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